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University Professor cautions public against the use of alcohol for sex 

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Professor Eugene Kufuor Maafo Darteh of the Department of Population and Health, University of Cape Coast (UCC), has warned that having sex under the influence of alcohol can have dire personal and social consequences. There is recent craze for sex boosters among the youth in Ghana and the media is inundated with countless assorted alcoholic beverages touted for their ability to enhance sex drive.

However, Prof. Darteh said the use of alcohol and related drugs for sex, impaired judgement and led people to abandon or forget to use contraceptives such as condoms for protection against Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Infections (STDs/STIs).

The ramifications, he cautioned, were a hike in STDs, unwanted pregnancies, abortions and deaths among others, which could weigh heavily on the health system and the economy. The Professor of Social Dimensions of Sexual and Reproductive Health, gave the caution when he delivered his professorial inaugural address on the theme: “Eating the Forbidden Fruits: Reflections on Risky Sexual Behaviours among Young Women in Ghana over the Last Three Decades.”

Prof Darteh observed that despite efforts by traditional, religious and legal systems to check Risky Sexual Behaviours among the youth, the menace remained a major public health concern. Beyond the use of alcohol for sex, he noted, the youth were also actively engaged in early sex, multiple sex partners, unprotected sexual affairs, age mixing (having sugar mummies and daddies) and early marriage.

Citing data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, he said in 1988, 43.73 per cent of young people from 15 to 24 years had sex before age 16 but reduced to 27.8 in 2014. However, he observed that 9.74 per cent of the same age group had multiple sex partners in 2003 and increased to 63 per cent in 2014.

He added that less than six per cent used condoms in 1998 when data was collected and in 2014, it was less the seven per cent. “It means that our young people are not using the condoms, but they are having sex, having multiple sexual partners and are mixing ages,” he noted.

“If nothing is done about these risky sexual behaviours, it will shake the foundation of our health, our well-being and our education,” he added. When that happened, he indicated, Ghana risked missing SDG goals one, two, three, four and five which dealt with poverty reduction, elimination of hunger, good health, quality education and gender equality respectively.

Prof Darteh called for the development of the skills and potentials of the future generation aged 15 to 24 to mitigate the incidence of such Risky Sexual Behaviours. “The size is huge and so when we get them well-educated and in good health, they move into proper adulthood and they are going to create a certain labour force that propels the economic development,” he said.

He said young people should be equipped with the appropriate sexual education to ensure they did not engage in the Risky Sexual Behaviours. Prof Darteh said there was also a need to provide holistic services which offered all forms of services to encourage young people to seek help. “We need to ensure that services that target young people will cater for their minds and bodies,” he stressed.

Prof Darteh was first appointed lecturer at the then Department of Geography and Tourism, UCC in 2007, was promoted to senior lecturer in 2013, moved up to Association Professor in, February 2018 and a full Professor in February 2021.

He has more than 65 peer-reviewed journal articles in Scopus-indexed journals, a book chapter, and a few technical reports and modules to his credit. Over the period of his employment at the UCC, he has supervised and graduated five PhD holders and more the 30 M.Phil. and MA thesis. He has provided mentorship to a few young academics who are occupying positions in academia, research and industry.

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